Game hunting benefits conservation – It’s official

A recent study conducted in eight African countries shows that game hunting activities make a major financial contribution to the economies of the countries in which the hunting activities take place. This is due in part to the amount of money spent per hunter per day during a hunting trip, but it also directly related to the amount of time the hunter spends in the country whilst not actively involved in hunting.

The majority of hunters spend on average 14 days in the country where the hunt will take place. While this is the average, there are cases of both longer and shorter hunting trips. During the typical 14-day trip at least 11 days will be spent hunting while the other days will be spent on more traditional tourist activities such as sight-seeing, photo tourism and shopping. The activities undertaken during both parts of the trip directly contribute to the economy of the country. In more than half of the cases, the hunter is accompanied by two people, one of whom hunts and the other who spends less than half the time on the actual hunt, preferring rather to use the time for other tourist activities with a resultant increase in the volume of non-hunt related expenditure.

While the non-hunt related activities contribute to the general economy of the country, the hunting activities generally provide income and employment opportunities for local communities surrounding the actual area where the hunt takes place. In addition, through the purchasing of hunting licenses and permits, additional income is derived for conservation activities in the area. Fees paid to local land and game owners also directly contribute to conservation as they are used for the maintenance of habitat in hunting areas.

Over and above the costs associated with the hunt itself, the study showed that the majority of hunters made provision for the taxidermy and forwarding and freighting of at least one trophy from each hunt and elected to use the services of local taxidermists and freighting companies for the purpose. This means that the local economy of the country further benefits from the hunt. At Zingela Forwarders we can certainly vouch that in most cases the entire bag of a hunt is shipped out of the country with the resultant higher costs associated with this.

The study showed that on average, hunters engaging on a 14-day trip will spend in the region of $26000. During the period of 2012 to 2014 more than 8300 visiting hunters came to South Africa at the top end of the scale while Ethiopia was at the bottom end of the scale with just a fraction of this number. The hunters visiting South Africa during this period contributed more than $141 million making a significant contribution to the GDP of the country and creating more than 12 000 full time jobs in conservation related sectors.

But, how is it possible to say that that it was hunting which was the direct generator of this income? The majority of the hunters surveyed during the period of the study indicated that they would not have made the trips to the destination country if it were not for the ability to participate in a hunt. They stated that substituting other activities would fail to attract them into the destination and, as a result, the income derived from hunting, would be lost.

In most cases the funds generated by game hunting are accrued in areas not suitable for other forms of activities such as photo conservation or agriculture but occur in close proximity to other conservation activities with the result that the conservation activities benefit. In addition, hunting activities provides jobs and income to local communities which conveys the impression that conservation and hence wildlife has real value which the community can benefit from, far more than can be obtained from illegal poaching activities and without any of the risk.

On the strength of this report and with the recent support given to hunting by the CITES conference it would appear that the true value of hunting is finally being seen. At Zingela Forwarders we welcome the findings of this report and look forward to assisting the many international game hunters who visit our shores each year.